Making it look easy is only just one part of our job <3
When planning your event, there sure is alot of prep work involved! Working with vendors for the right food, decor, location, and hiring entertainment, all to create a fun and memorable event for you and your guests takes time and patience. All while trying to work within your budget means.
Hiring a Belly Dancer for your event makes your party a night to remember. Belly Dancers provide fun and family oriented entertainment you and your guests will enjoy and appreciate. Hiring a Belly Dancer adds glamour, excitement and sparkle for any occasion.
So the question of why I myself, and other dancers, charge what we charge does come up, and of course it is to be expected. As a client, you want to understand the logistics of our rates. Why not hire the less expensive dancer at half my standard rate? Well I hope this blog can help to put into perspective the old saying of "you get what you pay for."
So what goes into my (and other dancers) pricing?
Those who work as entertaining artists know that the most of our costs goes into the prep work it takes to pull off a dance routine set. A Belly Dancer will have spent time putting together music appropriate for clientele, practicing and going over a dance set to selected music, picking the right costume (ensuring we choose the right dress for the appropriate audience), time spent on makeup and traveling to the location of the event. And often times, working personally with DJ's and or Party Planners to pull off a flawless set . Also the cost of traveling expenses is added, depending on whether gas/tolls are coming out of the dancers pocket.
Quality dancers also would have probably spent thousands of dollars throughout their dance career, taking dance workshops, paying for high end costuming, makeup, accessories and props. Most high end professional costumes range in price at average between $250-$1000, which are handmade from Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon. This is not including props and accessories cost. And because most of us are our own business, we pocket out expenses just like any other business does for the goal of marketing. Websites, marketing promotions, business cards, professional photo's, car maintenance (due to high volume of travel), computer software programs for editing purposes, are just a small example of the amount of time, work, and cost we as dancers are investing in our business. Belly Dancers, most often, do not have a manager or agent who handle the clerical work that is done behind the sparkles and zills. We are our own schedulers, marketers, agent, seamstress, accountant, etc. A Belly Dancer is practicing dance routines, editing music, fixing/adjusting costumes, handling call backs to clients personally, and working constantly to ensure we are providing the best quality entertainment our clients deserve.
When looking at it from this objective, although it may seem that our standard rates may seem expensive, as a client you are paying for all that has made it possible for a Belly Dancer to perform professionally and exquisitely for the entertainment you deserve. It may seem like such a short amount of time, the performance itself, but there are years and countless hours of training, that have gone into that 20-30 minute set. All that hard work has created an illusion that the dance looks easy! :-)
You may ask, "why not hire the less expensive dancer?" the one who charges $100 to my $250. You could. It's completely up to you. But there is a reason why that dancer is charging less then the going rate. Most likely, the lower cost dancer is a student or hobbyist. They are not fully developed as a trained dancer, commonly unreliable, may not know how to prepare a set, answers your specific questions due to inexperience, and most likely NOT provide the type of trained entertainment that you and your guests deserve. You and your guests will see right through their inexperience. It can make what was supposed to be a fun and memorable show, an awkward and uncomfortable one. It really does boil down to "you get what you pay for."
***I would like note: While working regularly at a restaurant, the restaurant receives a discount because they are guaranteeing of regular employment to the dancer. It's an ongoing agreement that allows the dancer a steady income and as well may lead the dancer to be hired for special events from the customers who frequent the establishment. A private event, such as a baby show, wedding, bridal shower, birthday party, anniversary party, are usually a one shot deal. Also, dancers do arrive much earlier then the time slot of the performance itself, to ensure all runs smoothly. Clients can have the option of having a party at a local restaurant where a dancer is scheduled to perform. But be advised, you will be sharing her attention with the other customers. Should you hire a dancer personally for your special event, it guarantees that the dancer is there to dance solely for the entertainment of you and your guests, as well as tailoring a specific set for your occasion. ***
I, myself, and many other dancers, do our best to accommodate and work with all budget types.
But please remember, we are artists who have invested time, money, and training to do our best to capture the art of Middle Eastern dance and present it publicly in a respectful manner . Employing a professionally trained dancer for your event, that brings all the years of hard work and training for your special night , is priceless.
Love and Blessings